The beauty of an imperfect home

8 September 2017

My recent post about my house contentment hack seemed to resonate with y’all, and I’m not surprised. A lot of us seem to struggle with feeling like our houses are less-than, instead of loving them for what they are: safe, warm, dry, comfy places to shelter our families. There’s a lot of wisdom in the comments of that post so I’d encourage you to go back and take a peek, but as a follow-up I wanted to share a story…

rainbow book shelf

Anagram Photo

Earlier this week, a friend called me up after reading my post. She and her husband stayed overnight with us for the first time this spring, and truthfully, I was a little nervous before their visit (and spent more time preparing and cleaning than usual!). She’s an impeccably thoughtful hostess and has a BEAUTIFUL home by any standard, and I wanted to make her feel welcome! (And, okay, look good while doing it…)

To my surprise, on the call she shared that their stay had come with an epiphany, that she left saying to her husband, that’s how I want our home to feel. The reason? Precisely because it WASN’T perfect. She specifically mentioned noticing pet fur on furniture, crumbs on the high chair, toys out on the rug. Not exactly what most of us want our homes to be known for (ha!), but there you have it. Instead of being embarrassed, I’m choosing to be honored that my thoroughly imperfect home gave her permission to loosen up a bit in hers.

The lessons here, as I see them:

1. Say the encouraging thing. Don’t just think they already know it. Everyone needs to be encouraged, and you’ll never regret saying something kind.
2. Your home, as crumb-filled or outdated or lacking as it may seem to you, could be exactly the soft landing — the permission-giving space — someone else needs. Never be afraid to invite someone in.

If you think about the homes you love the most, I would venture to guess you don’t love them because of their looks — you love them for the way you feel when you’re in them, the people inside them, and the memories you’ve made between their walls. I’m working to shift how I think about my own home, to value it for these things, and I thought it might be helpful for a few of you, too! xo

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September 7, 2017 6:44 am

I really needed to hear this! Thank you!

September 8, 2017 6:51 am

I just love this Em. My favourite home growing up was that of our family friends. It was filled with clutter, chaos and the good stuff of family life. I hope our big Victorian home has exactly the same feel, particularly to our little boy. And if there’s a baby walker in the middle of the sitting room, maybe I don’t have to move it immediately!

Kelly Strawberry
September 8, 2017 9:15 am

Em, your last paragraph reminded me of one of my favorite videos of all time: Nicole Johnson – The Invisible Woman. Whenever you have 5 minutes to spare, you should watch it. It’s so good. Anyone who wants to create a life-giving home would be encouraged by it.

September 9, 2017 7:50 pm

I appreciate these posts. I not only like but also admire your home – it is thoughtful, colorful and happy. I look forward to spending time there! I love the evidence of the people who live there – the enjoyment lists you tick off on the fridge, the notes you leave for John. Those are the things that might take 5 minutes that, to me, are above and beyond and something for me to strive toward. We see a lot of things during the day, and when people pass through your home, they see “you are loved” and are prompted to ask, “what good shall I do this day?” What could be more perfect than a home that provides shelter and encouragement?

September 11, 2017 10:50 pm

Wow! This post hit me straight in my heart. Just like your last post. I haven’t thought about it before, but your last statement is SO TRUE! The homes I admire are like your friend mentioned, NOT perfect, but I feel at home in them. I love everything about this post. I want people to feel at ease in our home, not stuffy or like they can’t truly relax.

September 15, 2017 9:48 am

This is so encouraging, Emily!! I actually feel most at home and welcome in “imperfect” homes. But I still find myself thinking about the things I want to change in our home instead of embracing the imperfections. Thanks for sharing! That was a nice reminder of how beautiful imperfect can be.

September 15, 2017 12:46 pm

I love you :) And those crumbs and sweet kitty fur xoxo

October 2, 2017 6:33 am

[…] as ready as I’ve ever been for a new season, and my goals reflect that! In light of my imperfect home thoughts from last month, I’m focusing on making what I have more beautiful, and taking care of it […]